A postmodern romp through the rain forest, "Equatoria" is both travelog and cultural critique. On the right-hand pages, the Prices chronicle their 1990 artifact-collecting expedition up the rivers of French Guiana, and on the left, stage an accompanying sideshow that enlists the help of Jonathan Swift, Joseph Conrad, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Alex Haley, James Clifford, Eric Hobsbawm, Germaine Greer, and even the noted anthropologist James Goodfellow (who asks for more sex). Also included are quotes from the nurses, doctors, tourists, convicts and countless others who live in the French penal colony turned space center in tropical South America.
Charged with acquiring objects for a new museum, the Prices kept a log of their day-to-day adventures and misadventures, constantly confronting their ambivalence about the act of collecting, the very possibility of exhibiting cultures and the future of anthropology.
Anyone concerned about cultural preservation, museums, "primitive" art, anthropology, indigenous rights and the legacies of colonialism will be challenged by this playful, but eminently serious work.
"Richard and Sally Price are the very model of the modern anthropologist, and "Equatoria is appropriately state-of-the-art. . . . The ethnographer's mandate is to maintain a low profile, and this the Prices do faithfully, though it doesn't prevent them from leaving behind, as a sense of themselves, a Cheshire Cat whiff of whimsy."
""Equatoria takes us on a moral journey along a continuum of immorality called museum collecting. Sometimes pained, sometimes ironic, always insightful. The Prices' offer an ethical tour of the ethnic . . . a journey that anyone interested in turning the lived and the lively into the dead and desiccated ought to take, at least once."
-Brackette F. Williams, University of Arizona
"Scholarly, up-to-date, and sophisticated in its understanding of the many fields in which it is implicated, ["Equatoria] is a deft way of opening up a lot of thorny issues in current debates . . . where anthropology, racism, postcoloniality, surrealism, and writing overlap. . . . This is an unusual and strikingly well done text which will intrigue and stoke the fires of key debates in cultural criticism, cultural doubt."
-Michael Taussig, Columbia University
"The latest in a series of volumes by the Prices that is proving to be the most interesting and most sustained body of experimental work in anthropology. "Equatoria operates through an ingenious format that calibrates travel narrative to pastiche. In so doing, the Prices deliver in their account of an ethnographic mission upriver an ironic and irresistable meditation on collecting as an activity through which the sign of the primitive perpetually emerges in modernist, and for that matter, postmodernist, discourses."
-George E. Marcus, Department of Anthropology, Rice University
"Everything conspires to remind the Prices of the debate raging over Western museums as theaters of cultural hegemony. From the first entry of the Prices' journal virtually to the last, they bravely reflect on the meaning of their enterprise, given current perceptions of the curatorial project as one part of humanity collecting the rest."
-"The New York Times Book Review
Tertiary; University or College
For Ages: 18 years old
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 11th May 1994
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.76 x 13.06
Weight (kg): 0.4
Edition Number: 1